The vibe for the day was established in a Mt Eden cafe.

A balding 50-something and a trio of young saplings were discussing their Big Day Out prospects.

"So, ya going?" "Nah, work's been too busy. You?"

"Yeah, Breaks Co-Op and Iggy. I'm there."

All standard fare, except it was the 20-somethings who were planning on stopping in.

You could almost say Big Day Out 2006 was the time for the wrinkleboppers to shine - and burn.

By mid-afternoon about 30,000 people had rolled up. Organisers expected the crowd to peak at 35,000 compared with 38,000 last year.

A significant chunk of the crowd appeared set on revisiting past glories.

Dave and Tracey Thiele had made an early pilgrimage from Laingholm to Ericsson Stadium to rock with the kids. Again.

This was their tenth BDO and Dave, 47, had even fashioned himself a flash frock from tea towels.

"I'm starting to smell of dishes and barbecues," he said on his way to another earbashing. "It could be nasty by the end of the night."

"But no one cares, I love this, hanging out with humanity. Everyone's gothed up, tattooed up and ready to have a good time. I just throw myself into it, I just feel a need to be in amongst the crowd. And in all this time I've never seen any trouble, maybe rock's getting soft."

Also standing out in the crowd was Alana Yee. The 21-year-old from Ellerslie likes to dress according to colour themes. For the past two BDOs she's been pink, then purple. This year it was a homage to Kermit, green from head to toe.

"Well, you've got to make an effort, try for something a bit different. This is my fifth, they're always good value for money.

"It's got a lot more going for it than bands."

The newest optional extra for punters was the silent disco, a covered dancefloor where the music could only be heard via headphones.

If nothing else, it proved just how badly out of time some are when trying to clap along to a basic beat.

Just another part of the musical pageant and yet another great opportunity to indulge in one of the event's best attractions, people watching.

Spider certainly had his eyes peeled even as his dapper dress tie and crisp shirt garnered their own curious glances.

"Oh yes, scantily-clad girls," said the 36-year-old. "That's always a big part of the day."

But do his own fashion efforts pay off?

"Umm, well, not as well as they should," he lamented.

No matter, either way. Iggy Pop was playing, so he went home happy.